Making It: Transforming Ohio Steel into Furniture

MAKER: Jason Radcliffe

AGE: 41

BUSINESS: 44Steel

HOW IT STARTED: “As soon as you know how to weld, anybody who has something metal-oriented will come up to you,” he says. 

Friends have come to him with broken car bumpers or a dangling exhaust pipes.  He’s also come to the rescue of belt buckles and trampolines.

FURNITURE IN MUSEUMS (NOT HIS): Radcliffe says he can appreciate the intricate carvings on historic furniture.

“The look and the amount of work it took to do that is pretty impressive,” he adds.  “I love going to museums that have actual furniture.  It’s not something I would do.” 

HIS FURNITURE: “Modern work is my thing, very minimal,” he says.  “If I can get rid of anything on a piece of furniture, I will get rid of it.  Flashy is not how I do things.” 

SOME OF IT ISN’T VERY PRETTY: He often likes to leave in the unpainted natural colors that occur in the steelmaking process.  Sometimes you can even see the welds.

“It fits really well with the industrial look of Cleveland, all this rawness,” he enthuses.   “So, that’s why I try to make everything out of raw.”

HE SAVES “PRETTY” FOR HIS ARMS: He favors softer images of birds and flower in his tattoos, such as magnolias, a scarlet tanager and a peregrine falcon.  And a few lightning bolts.

GOES HOME DIRTY, BUT HAPPY: “Everybody wants to go to a tech job, not get themselves dirty.  I come home at the end of the day, and I’m an absolute mess.  But, I love it.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.” 

Making It” is a series of profiles highlighting Northeast Ohioans who make stuff.

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